How many of us could really articulate our financial strategy?
Reaching wealth goals and achieving personal ambitions are major objectives of the financial planning process. It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck on a treadmill and can’t get off – you may feel like you’ve lost your work/life balance and that you are missing out on something. In order to make plans for the future, you need to know where you are today and where you want to be in the future.
Wealth goal-setting is very much like creating a business plan. You need to know a starting point and ending point, the time frame for ‘exiting’ (or reaching your goals), and the estimated cost involved. In other words, if you have a plan in place, you are more likely to achieve it!
The most common types of wealth goals are:
- retirement planning or creating the financial freedom to pursue the career you want;
- new property purchase-a new home, a holiday home or perhaps a rental property; or
- school fees.
It’s important to consider and plan which wealth goals really matter most. Instead, many people muddle through their financial lives, spending to meet the day-to-day expenses that dominate their attention. That’s why to get what you want most, you must decide which wealth goals will take priority and work toward the lesser goals only after the really important ones are well provided for.
Many high achievers may find themselves asking, ‘How will I know when I have enough?’ While many people are still spurred on by their own ambition to achieve more, they may also be wishing they could have more time to do other things, such as spend time with their family.
How will you know when you have enough? Learn How – Your Lifetime Wealth Model
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Approach to achieving your goals
The minimum time horizon for all types of investing should be at least five years. Whatever your personal wealth goals may be, it is important to consider the time horizon at the outset, as this will impact on your approach to achieving your goals. It also makes sense to revisit your goals at regular intervals to account for any changes to your personal circumstances, for example, the arrival of a new member to the family, or as you enter retirement.
As a starting point, consider the goals you set previously, and reflect on what worked and what didn’t and why. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to clearly define your specific goals. Most people tend to set wealth goals that are more about money than about things that motivate them emotionally.
Goals that are tied to what you truly value are often easier to achieve than goals that are simply tied to money. Part of what gives this goal its power is that it’s SMART: it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and has a Timeline.
A wealth goal is the first step that sets you on a path and should also be:
- Specific – to retire in comfort is not a specific or clear goal, but ‘to achieve two thirds of your previous working lifetime income at 55 when you retire’ is. The earliest you can retire from a defined contribution scheme (i.e. personal pension) is age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028).
- Measurable – Set deadlines for your wealth goals, such as the age at which you want to retire, or the timeline for buying a holiday home.
- Achievable – Use your own income (and expected income) to set your wealth goals for the future. Don’t count on inheriting money.
- Relevant – Create a personal financial bucket list of wealth goals, but always view it as a flexible document that will change with time as your interests and life situation changes.
- Timeline – Identify your time frame by categorising your objectives by short-term, medium-term and long-term wealth goals to provide focus and to help match your goals with appropriate savings and investments.
A financial to-do list provides important action steps that can help you keep your financial plans on track. Some of these include:
- Make sure you have a properly drafted and signed Will. Check to see that your Will (and any trust) accurately reflects your wishes and that the beneficiaries on your pension plans and life insurance policies are up to date.
- Giving your portfolio a regular checkup to make sure your mix of investments accurately reflects your current goals, time frame, attitude to risk, tolerance of risk and capacity for risk/loss.
- Taking full advantage of your employer’s pension plan (if you’re not doing this already).
- Tracking your spending to see where your money is going.
- Calculating your net worth so that you understand where you stand financially.
- Creating a legacy for future generations and/or charitable organisations that reflect your values.
As crucial as a financial to-do list is to your long-term financial security, creating a not-to-do list is equally important. That’s because a not-to-do list can help you avoid some of the mistakes that may be keeping you from making the most of your money. For example, do not:
- Try to time the market. No one knows for certain which way the market will head next. Instead, be strategic and thoughtful about your investment decisions.
- Make investing decisions in isolation. Rather, consider how each may impact your overall wealth goals.
- Delay saving for retirement. The sooner you get started, the greater the impact time and compounding may have on your ability to build financial security for the future.
- Gain access to your retirement savings unless in an emergency. Taking money from your pension pot is like borrowing from your future to pay for your present needs.
- Ignore the important role risk plays in your portfolio’s ability to grow over time.
Over time, your personal and financial situation is likely to change. Consider how this may impact your wealth goals, attitude to risk, risk tolerance, capacity for risk/loss and time frame, as well as your investment and protection planning requirements.
Is it time you reviewed your wealth goals?
We all have dreams for the future, and many of those dreams require wealth to make them come true. Reaching those milestones starts with setting clear wealth goals. At Partners Wealth Management, we can work with you to establish what financial freedom looks like to you. For an obligatory-free introductory conversation, please contact us – we look forward to hearing from you.
Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change. The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend upon the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.